Húy̓at offered us
a range of wild plant foods and condiments, many of which, like salmon and clams, were made even more abundant with our
careful tending.
In recent times, picking berries was an important task for the children, and many remember their grannies making berry cakes – an age-old process of making fruit leather from the dried berry sauce. Thimbleberries, salal, blueberries, huckleberries, greyberries (stink currant), and gooseberries were among the many berries that were and are harvested in Húy̓at.
Thimbleberry l̓qáx̌a
Salal berry nk̓vɫ
Red huckleberries ǧvádṃ
Wild blueberry bush sík̓vás
Gooseberry tṃ́xvi̓álí
“Labrador tea”, which is still one of our favorite warm beverages, grows in abundance around the lakes in Húy̓at.
Labrador tea púy̓ás
In addition to berries, Húy̓at offers three important “root foods”: clover, riceroot, and silverweed. Our ancestors, like many Coastal First Nations,
cultivated these important starchy foods in gardens
in the upper intertidal zone of Húy̓at and other places. Of these three, our Elders remember their relations eating riceroot (“wild rice”) and clover root; the consumption of all three of these once important foods, as well as how to cultivate them, have fallen out of memory.
"Our great granny made us berry picking baskets, the lateral weave were colorfully dyed slit cedar. We would pick salal, salmonberries, and blueberries. The grannies would mash them up and sun-dried them for winter use. That must have been the first ever gummy bears."
- Joan Hall
"And it [clover root] was dug, they were dug out and they cooked it, and they dried it. And it was soaked with it was eaten and they’d put grease and sugar on it. And it was eaten. That’s all on this. And that was one of things eaten a long time ago."
- Maggie Windsor
Importance of Local Plant Foods